person walking on empty aisle on grocery store

Food scarcity is a topic that has become more prevalent in today's society for many different reasons. At the start of the pandemic, many consumers became aware of just how fragile the supply chain is when they arrived at the store and saw empty shelves that would not be refilled within days.

Most locations are familiar with a short term clearing of shelves whenever there is a pending weather event and the customer knows they will not be able to return to the store for a few days.

And while milk and bread may run out of stock within hours, consumers have always been able to rely on the fact that store shelves would be restocked on the next delivery date, within the week.

However, the pandemic was an eye opening event that showed the truth about our reliance on a supply chain that is not unbreakable. To this day, there are places where parents are unable to find baby formula, other goods such as pasta are scarce, and even restaurants are putting up signs that they are low on common foods such as chicken.


person walking on empty aisle on grocery store
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Even at the current levels of food scarcity, there are many who take for granted the supply chain and assume that they will always have enough to feed their family, even if it's not their favourite foods.

However, you never know when the next step will be taken where suddenly there are no grains to be found to make many of your favorite foods. This is already a situation where the Russia-Ukraine war is threatening our supply, as is the drought in Canada and elsewhere.

You need to be fully prepared for food scarcity situations. This is something that can happen overnight or within days. You don't want to have to scramble along with everyone else at the last minute.

Focus on Calorie-Dense and Shelf-Stable Foods

When you’re in a situation where food is scarce, you have to focus on three things. He first is making sure everyone gets enough calories to sustain them throughout the day. This will vary from person to person.

The second is making sure your food is shelf stable for as long as possible. While some foods may expire in a week (like fresh produce), other food can last 10-30 years when stored properly.

The third, which we’ll talk about shortly, is making sure that the foods you eat are rich in nutrients, not just calories. You need to make sure you’re eating food that will give you plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.

When you start stocking up on survival food, you need to focus on the calories and shelf stability first. Calculate how many calories your family needs. It will vary a lot between a grown man and a little girl, so make sure you’re running the numbers accurately.

Things like canned meat, nuts and other items can pack a punch in terms of calories and give you the kind of long-term food storage that you need. Grains also deliver a lot of calories, as do pasta dishes.


assorted color beans
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You want to make sure your survival stores are stocked with beans and dehydrated potatoes, too. It’s not just about the foods themselves, but the pantry staples that will add flavor and calories, too.

This includes things like sugar, flour, honey, oil and more. Whenever you shop for survival foods, compare the calories and nutrients. For example, peas will provide you with more calories than other vegetables.

You may want to stock up on survival ration bars for survival, too. These are not the most delicious meals to eat, but they will deliver the calories you need at about 410 calories per bar.

These kinds of bars are not meant to be the ultimate in health food, but instead to provide the calories you need to sustain your energy levels. They often have sugar and other ingredients to get you through a survival situation, not necessarily provide optimal health.



Grow Abundant Crops That Deliver the Best Nutrients

When it comes to surviving a food scarcity situation, you won’t always be able to just go to the store and stock up on what you need. Sometimes, you’ll have to grow it from scratch.

This is a wonderful skill to have early on, before you actually need it. Whether you’re growing in the ground or planting crops in containers, you want to be growing crops that not only provide calories, but also the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

For calories, think about crops that have a high yield. Beans and peas, corn, potatoes and other items can give you a lot of food to feed your family. If you can grow avocados, that’s a great option, too.

For those who have room on their property, nut trees would be a fantastic crop to plant. You can get plenty of calories from walnuts, pecans and other items if you’re lucky enough to have them growing on your property.


a sliced lemon fruit on green spinach leaves
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In terms of nutrients, look to grow a variety of different, colorful crops. Use the rainbow as a guide to help you decide what to grow. For example, you’ll want to grow sweet potatoes and carrots, squash, red potatoes, spinach, kale and more.

Leafy greens like collards can deliver a lot of vitamins that you’ll need to maintain good health. You want foods that will provide vitamins naturally. You may not be able to order supplements to get things like vitamin C.

Make sure that when you plan your survival crops, you’re taking time to consider what your family likes to eat. While it may not matter in a true SHTF situation where people are starving, it’s always smart to grow what your family enjoys eating.

You also have to consider what foods still store well, and for the longest time. You can certainly freeze some of your produce, if the grid is up. You can also freeze dry or dehydrate your food, can it and ferment it whenever applicable.

Have a Plan for Meeting Your Protein Needs

Many people stock up on canned and dehydrated or frozen meat whenever they’re planning their survival foods. But you may not be in a situation where ordering food is an option anymore.

Instead, you have to plan for your protein just as you planned the produce you are going to grow on your property. It’s important to have plenty of protein in your diet. This will keep you strong and provide plenty of energy for you, too.

Many people think if times were dire enough, they would simply go out and hunt for what they need to eat. But this burns a lot of calories and takes a lot of effort, so it’s wise to be prepared ahead of time for your protein needs, too.

Eggs are perhaps the easiest protein to prepare for. You can raise hens that lay eggs for you on a regular basis. Not only can you eat the eggs directly, but you can cook with them to make things like pasta and cakes or other items where the recipe calls for an egg.


brown hen near white egg on nest
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Chicken is also good for the meat, too. You can raise chickens to butcher for cooking over a fire, boiling, baking and more. You’ll need to make sure you raise healthy chicken that isn’t susceptible to disease and that you protect them with a sturdy chicken coop to keep them safe from predators.

Rabbits can also be raised for their meat. You can build or buy a rabbit hutch and keep rabbits that will reproduce and provide more meat and protein for your family over a period of time.

Goats can not only provide milk, but meat, too. You can sometimes use the hide of the goat for other purposes, as well. Goats don’t take up a lot of room on your property, and they also keep the grass cut naturally for you.

Pigs don’t require a lot of care. They eat just about anything and provide ample amounts of meat when butchered. You can cure the meat that you don’t cook right away and turn it into a jerky for longevity.

Sheep can provide plenty of wool as well as milk and meat when you raise them for survival purposes. There are different types of sheep, so you’d need whatever was best suited to your intentions.

Cows, if you have enough property to raise them, are a fantastic protein source. They can provide milk for you and your family. They also deliver huge quantities of meat you can freeze or dry for later use.

They do require quite a bit of land, so this is not something you’d want to buy for survival purposes if you only had a small backyard. If you’re planning on hunting, you need to see what protein sources are in your local area.

For example, some people hunt deer, quail, wild boars and other animals. Learn about the hunting and processing ahead of time so that you’re not struggling to provide protein for your family at the last minute.

Depending on what bodies of water are located near you, you might want to use fish as a source of protein. Make sure you have plenty of gear available and know how to use it to catch fish to feed your family.


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Make Sure You Have Many Methods for Cooking and Storing

Part of making sure you can provide food for your family means you have a way to cook and store everything safely. Whether you’re hunting and need to make sure you’re not wasting food, or you’re opening a shelf-stable bucket of survival food, you need to know how to keep it from being ruined.

Always have a cool, dry space to store your survival foods. If you try to store it in a hot garage, chances are it’s going to spoil before you can use the food that you so carefully purchased.

Start by investing in a freezer where you can safely store large supplies of meat. Many people will buy half a cow and have it processed to store in their freezer to use up over the course of a year.

If the grid is down, that won’t help much. You need a way to dehydrate your food so that all it requires is the addition of water (or to eat as is). For example, you can dehydrate meat and use a variety of jerky recipes.

Knowing how to can food, such as the fruits and vegetables you’ve grown in your survival garden, will come in handy. This can provide you with shelf stable side dishes for years.

For cooking, you need to have both indoor and outdoor options. A simple Sterno stove can allow you to cook or warm up some food indoors in a pinch. But you also want to have things like cast iron pots and pans and a fire pit to cook outdoors.

You can get solar cookers to use that won’t alert people to the fact that you’re cooking. You can also get an outdoor grill or smoker to use if you need to cook large quantities of meat at once.

Shop Strategically to Increase Your Supplies

When you’re preparing to focus on your survival food options, you need to make your dollar stretch. Especially in a recession, when food prices are soaring, you can’t afford to waste your money.

Buy in bulk whenever possible. You might be able to afford small bags of things like beans, but if you can save up a bit and buy a survival bucket of beans that will last 25 years, that’d be a better investment.

Sign up for warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club to buy in bulk. But don’t overlook online options that deliver straight to your home. Prices on sites like Amazon fluctuate, so you might be able to get a good deal one day that wasn’t there the day before.



Don’t worry about shopping for brand name foods at this time. You can buy a lot more of a store brand than you can a brand name label, and it’s just as tasty and packaged as securely as the other options.

Your goal is to find the most nutritious, calorie-dense foods packaged as securely as possible for shelf stability. That might mean you buy larger survival food buckets with a variety of foods such as pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables – or it might mean you grow your own food and master the art of canning it for your pantry yourself.

There are many foods you’ll find on sale with buy one, get one free deals. You’ll also be able to snag better deals when you shop around and look at the weekly circular. Some stores might have canned goods on sale, whereas another one doesn’t have as good of a deal.

Shop smart when looking for other things, too – such as your chicken coops, gardening tools and materials, canning systems and more. Don’t be in a rush to the point that you waste money in a panic to prepare, but don’t sit around not having what you need, either.

Until Next Time

Dominus Owen Markham


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